Tuesday, June 7, 2011
A week ago I wrote that I didn’t think Terrelle Pryor would ever play for Ohio State again and I had some people disagree with me - a few quite nastily — saying I was selling the kid short.
They said he was being made the scapegoat in the scandal that has rocked Ohio State football and cost coach Jim Tressel his job and much of his reputation.
Some of that may be true. Pryor was an easy target. But he’s also a deserving target. That doesn’t lessen Tressel’s culpability one iota - he deserved to lose his job — but Pryor is old enough and savvy enough to be responsible for his actions, too.
And since he’s come to Ohio State his actions have been Me-First, the university, the team, his teammates second.
So it comes as no surprise to me that he informed Ohio State tonight that he’s not returning to the Buckeyes for his senior season. He was to start the season with a five-game suspension for his involvement in Tattoo-gate - trading memorabilia and autographs for ink work and cash - but he had promised Tressel he would return for the 2011 season.
Of course much has happened since he made that vow. Tressel has been forced out for his part not just in covering up the transgressions of Pryor and other players, but for all the other problems and improprieties — alleged and not — that keep popping up and have prompted an NCAA investigation and coast to coast bad press for the Buckeyes football program.
Pryor is at the epicenter of this uproar and the more that comes out - the investigation into all the cars he’s had, his relationship with the Pennsylvania businessman who acts as his mentor and just what all went on at that tattoo parlor he hung out at — the more his OSU legacy comes into question.
I thought Pryor showed his true colors almost from the moment he took over as the OSU starter just a few games into his freshman season. When Todd Boeckman lost his job to Pryor, the fifth year senior from St. Henry - as OSU coaches wanted him to do — he tried to help the young phenom succeed and tried to offer some suggestions about coverages and tendencies from the sidelines.
Rather than listen or thank him, Pryor pushed Boeckman away and — as was confirmed by other players on the sideline that day — cursed him in the process, basically saying “I don’t &%#%ing need you, get %&#! out of my face.”
From the get go it was all about him.
Boeckman could have taught him some things, especially on how to comport himself off the field.
So now Pryor is going to declare for the supplemental NFL draft a move that hinges on the NFL labor problems being resolved.
As for how he will do, I think he’ll get some interest, but not as much as he thinks. To me he’s a mid-round pick. He has to develop more as a quarterback and as a guy you can count on off the field.Tweet
LeBron James latest critics have it all wrong.
While I still fault him plenty for the classless way he dumped Cleveland for the Miami Heat, I’ve got to give him his due for what he has done in the NBA playoff’s and especially in two of the first three games in the championship series with Dallas.
James is a big reason Miami leads this series. His defense on the Mavs Jason Terry has turned the guy known as The Jet into a sputtering bi-plane that - come the fourth quarter of each game - barely gets off the ground.
And that’s why Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki finds himself on an island all alone. He’s being forced to carry an entire team on his shoulders because he is getting no consistent scoring help.
With James doing the less-trumpeted but most-necessary dirty work at one end of the court it’s allowing teammate Dwyane Wade to be the offensive star. That’s not to say that James is a slouch on the offensive end though. Against Dallas he;’s still averaging 20,3 points per game as is shooting 52 percent from the floor..
While “The Decision” - his ill-conceived televised putdown of Cleveland to announce his jump to Miami - came off as ego run amuck and turned James into a villain in many corners of the sports world, his performance now presents the flip side of ego. He’s pretty much keeping it under wraps for the betterment of the team. And I think that’s making him a better player than he ever has been.
Some people don’t see it that way, especiallya CBSSports.com columnist whose missive Monday bore the headline: “Story of an incredibly shrinking supertsar.”
The crux of the argument was that in the first three Finals games, James has totaled nine points.
I think the story is making a mountain out of a molehill. Going into tonight’s Game 4, Miami is up 2-1 and though I’m not a Heat fan, I think they’ll take this series in six games.
As for skrinking: James led the Heat in scoring, rebounding and assists in the opening playoff series against Philadelphia. He scored 28 a games as the Heat scorched Boston in the next round and in the conference finals he not only led the team in all three major production categories again, but he also put a defensive wrap on the Bulls star Derrick Rose.
To me, James - at least on the court - has never looked better.Tweet